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Scoop: Democrats whip against GOP's latest election crackdown

 Scoop: Democrats whip against GOP's latest election crackdown

House Democratic leadership is bringing out the big guns against a Republican bill set to be voted on next week that would require proof of U.S. Citizenship to vote in federal elections, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: House Republicans have made non-citizen voting in federal elections — for which there is no evidence of a widespread phenomenon — a marquee issue going into the 2024 campaign.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), largely ignoring House Democrats' drama this week, has posted on X about non-citizen voting multiple times since Wednesday.

State of play: The House is set to vote next week on the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act, or SAVE Act, which would require "documentary proof of United States citizenship" to vote in federal elections.

That could include a passport, a photo ID card that proves a voter was born in the U.S. or another form of photo ID along with supporting documentation such as a birth certificate, the bill says.

The legislation would require non-citizens to be removed from voter registration rolls, require election officials to ask voter registration applicants for proof of citizenship and open them up to legal consequences if they do not.

Driving the news: In a whip question — a roundup of the coming week's votes with instructions for how leadership wants rank-and-file members to vote — House Minority Whip Katherine Clark's (D-Mass.) office told House Democrats they are "urged to VOTE NO" on the bill.

That means that Democratic leadership will send its whip team to cajole colleagues into not supporting the legislation.

The bill, Clark's office said, would "prevent Americans from registering to vote with their driver's license alone" and would make a passport the "only acceptable standalone form of identification."

They added that the bill would create an "extreme burden for countless Americans" and "further intimidate election officials and overburden states' abilities to enrol new voters."

The other side: Johnson's office released a 22-page report making the case for the SAVE Act, which points to a "loophole" in current federal law that only requires voters to attest to their citizenship status, rather than being asked.

The report points to examples of non-citizens being removed from voter rolls in a handful of states: 70 in Massachusetts, 137 in Ohio and 1,481 in Virginia.

NRCC spokesperson Will Reinert told Axios: "Joe Biden isn't fit for office. Of course, extreme House Democrats would want illegal migrants voting to boost their failing President."

Flashback: House Republicans previously held a vote in May to block non-citizen voting in local Washington, D.C. elections, on which 52 Democrats broke away from their leadership and voted yes

Democratic leadership similarly whipped against that bill, but the National Republican Congressional Committee countered by warning it would go after any Democrat who voted for it.

That bill stalled in the Senate, and the SAVE Act is likely to as well if it passes the House.

Between the lines: The GOP fixation on the topic echoes former President Trump's unfounded claims of widespread immigrant voting in past elections, as well as his equally baseless claims about the 2024 election.

It is also a response to ordinances and proposals in a handful of liberal localities around the country allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections – but not federal ones.

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